Compostable/degradable food packaging
Biodegradable packaging is made from polymers derived from renewable raw materials instead of oil, such as cellulose, soy protein or milk and especially starch (from vegetable sources such as potato, corn or rice, to make plastarch). Plastarch material is biodegradable after use, and the pulp can be formed into useful shapes by injection moulding or thermoforming followed by drying.
They can decompose in suitable composting conditions of warmth, wet and oxygen into simple chemicals, including carbon dioxide gas (or to methane if oxygen is restricted, as in landfill or an enclosed anaerobic digester).
If material otherwise useful as food is being turned into plastics there is direct competition for growing space and the oil input to those farming practices in fuel and petrochemical sprays should be considered before concluding that bioplastics are 'sustainable'.
Waterproof and heat tolerant PLA plastic packaging made from polylactic acid is transparent and resembles oil-derived PET (polyethylene terephthalate). It is claimed to be compostable, but only with success in anaerobic digesters which are not usually used for packaging materials. PLA packaging (using resin recycling ID code 7) is accidentally mixed with PET (using code1), because of similar appearance, which then makes the PET lower value for recycling and unviable . Read more on the resulting debate.
Starch is used to make paper-plate or bowl substitutes that can be coloured with food dyes, will compost once soiled by food; and starch is also used to make lightweight packaging padding as a polystyrene substitute.
Bioware from Café Express
Contact: Chris Cox
Phone: 03 335 0175
Fax: 03 335 0174
Mobile: 021 766 091
Contact: Kevin Graham
Phone: 09 834 5340
Fax: 09 834 5341
Mobile: 027 410 4344
Info on waste collection companies in Auckland and Wellington who handle compostables including pre-approved biopolymer/bioplastic and starch based products.
Contact: Paul Haars
Phone: 03 343 7605
Fax: 03 343 5655
Potato starch-based products for packaging and event catering:
Contact 0508 POTATO
0508 768 286
Phone: 03 579 1705
Fax: 03 579 1706
Mobile 021 634 783
Additions can be made to this supplier list: contact Rhys Taylor 03 6938726.